The UBS Optimus Foundation is a recognised leader in innovative financing mechanisms for social impact. The Foundation uses results-based funding, partnering with philanthropists who front the money for charitable projects, which are later paid for by governments and end donors based on the outcome achieved. The Foundation takes smart risks on evidence-based, scalable solutions and focuses on health, education and child protection systems as well as tackling environmental degradation and climate change.
Across the world, the majority of children who are in orphanages should not be there, and the care provided in these institutions is often detrimental to the child. In orphanage systems, the absence of secure and responsive caregivers poses a serious threat to children’s physical, social and mental development.
Research has shown that growing up in orphanages can lead to profound developmental problems and greatly increases the risk of psychiatric disorders. The well-being of children growing up in institutional care worldwide is at risk and their chances in life are dramatically reduced.
In South Africa alone, there are over 21,000 children in residential care. Less than 10% of these children are orphans, and the majority are in the orphanage system as a result of a family breakdown.
In 2019, the Turner Kirk Trust provided a gift of £200,000 to Hope and Homes for Children (HHC) via the UBS Optimus Foundation. HHC is a global initiative working to eliminate orphanage-based care systems and to ensure all children can benefit from being brought up in a loving, caring family environment. In close collaboration with governments, they are closing orphanages, preventing family separation, and putting in place alternative family-based care for children who need it.
In South Africa, HHC’s One Child One Family Project is scaling up the deinstitutionalisation of children across five provinces. Over the past three years, HHC worked in partnership with the Gauteng Department of Social Development (GDSD) in Gauteng Province, South Africa, to implement a pilot program in three institutions in the province to demonstrate that children in residential homes can be reintegrated into family-based care.
After the pilot, the HHC and GDSD scaled these interventions across a further 166 institutions and surrounding communities in Gauteng. The charity also provided technical support to governments in four additional provinces to help prepare them for reforming their own care systems.
Over the course of the project, over 12,000 children in Gauteng benefited from the HCC’s work. As a result, the Gauteng Department of Social Development has signed a memorandum of understanding for the rollout of the child protection system reform throughout the region, with three draft policy already statements developed.
Through One Child One Family, 244 social services professionals and 180 community-based professionals benefitted from training. The programme also coordinated a network of community partners to increase reach and improve family resilience in Gauteng province. It also started a roadmap for care reform in two additional South African provinces: Eastern Cape and Free State.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in April 2020 UBS Optimus Foundation supplied HHC with an additional grant to provide immediate relief to children in 19 childcare institutions.
HHC has already helped 507 families in the HHC program and 797 vulnerable families through the Community Assist Network. From food assistance to supplying PPE to enabling the use of digital technologies, the extra support is helping HHC continue their work in South Africa while addressing COVID-19 restrictions and risks.
By 2022, HHC will have enough trained professionals, foster carers and policy support to transition about 1,000 children out of institutions and keep over another 1,150 from entering.
52 children under the age of 3 transitioned out of institutions
166 children and young people with transition plans
84 case management interventions prevented children from entering institutional care
85 foster families trained and ready to receive children
An innovative pilot project by SolarAid to provide solar lights to every household in an off-grid village in central Malawi, aiding their mission to light up all of rural Africa by 2030.
The University of Cambridge and the Turner Kirk Trust have launched the Kirk Global Challenge, a competition designed to jump-start economic growth in the developing world.
A new global fellowship programme at the Cambridge Conservation Initiative to protect biodiversity and foster interdisciplinary collaboration.
A new student-led research programme to develop new unmanned aerial vehicles to fight back against climate change and poaching, funded by the Trust.
A visiting fellowship programme hosted at the Isaac Newton Institute to support underrepresented groups within higher mathematical research.